Eating DC and MD: From swordfish to ziti
We visited the American Indian History Museum (Smithsonian), where we encountered perhaps the tastiest cafeteria fare in the country at the museum cafe, Mitsitam, which means "Let’s eat!" in the Native language of the Delaware and Piscataway peoples. In keeping with the theme of the museum, the cafeteria had stations that offered native foods from different tribes' culinary traditions. Mr. Tart had buffalo chili on frybread, while I partook of a lobster roll and wild rice salad (http://www.nmai.si.edu/dc/files/wild_rice.pdf). We shared a very rich and cinnamony Mexican hot chocolate, too. Other choices included tamales, corn pudding, venison, and turkey. It took me about 20 minutes of wandering around and visiting the various stations to narrow it down! Everything was delicious, and I loved the idea of eating food that matched the museum.
Our fanciest meal came that evening when we dined at a well-reputed seafood restaurant in downtown DC, Kinkead's (www.kinkead.com). Mr. Tart ate there once seven years ago and has dreamed about it ever since. We ended up at a very cozy circular booth, ordered a bottle of Reisling, and oohed and ahed over the menu. They do fish, and they do it well, and they know it. The menu was divided up into the "Kinkead's classics," the other dishes they're offering seasonally, that day's specials, and a list of fish they could prepare just as is, with no sauces or sides. (I think there might have been a lamb and a chicken dish too, much not much that lived on land.) I had a crab and corn chowder, decorated with shrimp, while he started with lobster. Our main dishes were chili-rubbed snapper on a bed of roasted chilis and corn/sweet potato/chili hash with a tamal on the side (him) and pistachio pesto-coated swordfish in roasted tomatoes and braised veggies like baby artichoke and greens. Everything was so good we kept sneaking bites off each other's plates! After a meal like that, we didn't need dessert--but we ordered it anyway. I ended up with ganache-covered chocolate mousse while he had a trio of cremes brulees (lavender nectarine, white chocolate, raspberry macadamia).
Mr. Tart needed a root canal shortly thereafter--but it had nothing to do with that meal!
At my cousin's wedding, we ate lots of Italian--Aunt Kathy's homemade baked ziti and pizzelle cookies dipped in chocolate at their house, then a pasta bar at the catered reception (three types of pasta, three sauces, shrimp and chicken and roasted red peppers to add). The wedding cake sported chocolate chips, a not-too-sweet cream cheesy icing, and six smurf figurines. Plus they had a chocolate fountain!
The least formal meal--but just as yummy as the others--was in tiny Westminster, MD, at Fall Fest. Vendors were selling the ubiquitous fair foods like funnel cake (not that there's anything wrong with funnel cake, mind you) and fresh-squeezed lemonade, along with sweet potato fries (a welcome change from the regular). But what thrilled us (Mr. Tart, parents, brother, aunt, and cousin) the most were all the Maryland crab dishes available. We sampled crab soup and two types of crab cakes (one deep fried, one grilled). Those were heavenly--large chunks of fresh crab with very little filling--and my cousin declared them the best crab cakes he's ever eaten, and I tend to agree. Dessert was kettle corn, my personal bete noire.
I love being married to a fellow foodie and traveling to places with "eating" as one of the scheduled activities!